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Pop Music Review

Jewel Still Making Her Own Rules, to Her Fans' Delight

November 18, 2000|RANDY LEWIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The universe of Jewel is a peculiar place. Anyone not utterly fascinated by its everydark, breathily romantic or inanely cute little crevasse will, upon stumbling in, likely find themselves begging Scotty to "Beam me up--now!"

Playing to an enraptured crowd that packed the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Jewel--once a homeless coffeehouse singer-songwriter and now a multiplatinum recording artist, actress, philanthropist and best-selling author--indulged nearly all her many interests in a 90-minute solo show.

As an artist, she is a Jewel of all trades who remains a master of none. Reading from her recently published second book, "Chasing Down the Dawn," she related a tale of hanging out with call girls. As with much of her songwriting, her prose ambled with little direction or insight, but was loaded with Jewel, a subject that apparently fascinates her as endlessly as it does the Jewel army.

She introduced a few new songs, but as always, such concepts as meter, rhyme and unifying theme all bend to meet her formidable will. The apparent spontaneity and intimacy induces apoplexy in her fans, but frustrates anyone looking for evidence of a coherent thought or songwriting process.

The most satisfying moments were a couple she shared with her opening act and sometimes songwriting partner, Steven Poltz, who provided the only artistic discipline in sight during the evening.

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